All Carole King recordings are dwarved by the towering success of Tapestry, which was released after Writer and followed by the other 4 disks in this set. So for content alone anything more than 4 stars aren't merited. Viewed from a value for money aspect this is a 'no brains, must buy' offer, though.
Writer (3*) suffers from an aged sound and production. Thank god they had that fixed on Tapestry. Music (4*) finds Carole in good shape as a composer but clearly lacking the lyrical talents of ex-husband Gerry Goffin. It features a good band of musicians, clean production and makes for enjoyable listening. On Rhymes And Reasons (3*) the lyrics are more bluesy, but still not much better. It is a bit of a subdued offering with the beautiful track Ferguson Road rising high above the pack. Fantasy (4*) is a much more ambitious project. The songs blend into one another on this concept album commenting on modern life. The lyrical effort is a little naive but overall the outcome is a success. Wrap Around Joy (4*) finds Carole going from singer/songwriter to almost full blown pop. The unparalleled clarity of her voice and phrasing keeps this from going sentimental and the upward trend in the lyrics is continued.
I still find her following album, Throroughbred (5*), her best besides Tapestry. But even if I'll only play the three 4-star albums in this set again, I'd still be glad that they have been re-released in this inexpensive package. Most of them had been all but unavailable for a long time.